The new (June, 2002) CR tested 11 "plain" (usually marinara) sauces, and divided them into three groups. The lowest-rated ("good") featured the expected suspects: Newman's Own slightly beating the control-samples, Prego and Ragu.
Under Very Good, CR rated, in order, The Silver Palate, Patsy's, and Bove's of Vermont.
And then, as excellent, all of them with the comment of "tasted freshly prepared"
#5 at cost of 92 cents per serving: Lidia's Marinara
#4, at $1.01 per serving: Coppola's Pomodoro-Basilica
#3, at $1.45, Rao's Marinara
#2, at 3.12 , Bobby Flay's Spicy Tomato
And #1, rated a CR Best Buy:
Emeril's Kicked Up Tomato ("Chunky, robust, spicy, complex flavors and notable heat. Naturally sweet-tasting tomatoes and fruity olive-oil flavor."
All but Bobby Flay's are available in stores. I never thought I'd see a tomato sauce twice as expensive as Rao's.
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